GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS ———— NEW YORK
by Little, Brown & Company
To my father
I. THE JUDGE AND JUDY II. ANNE GOES TO TOWN III. IN THE JUDGE'S GARDEN IV. "YOUR GRANDMOTHER, MY DEAR" V. TOO MANY COOKS VI. A RAIN AND A RUNAWAY VII. TOMMY TOLLIVER: SEAMAN VIII. A WHITE SUNDAY IX. A BLUE MONDAY X. MISTRESS MARY XI. THE PRINCESS AND THE LILY MAID XII. LORDLY LAUNCELOT XIII. A FORTUNE AND A FRIGHT XIV. A PRECIOUS PUSSY CAT XV. THE SPANISH COINS XVI. THE WIND AND THE WAVES XVII. MOODS AND MODELS XVIII. JUDY KEEPS A PROMISE XIX. PERKINS CLEANS THE SILVER XX. ANNE HEARS A BURGLAR XXI. CAPTAIN JUDY XXII. THE CASTAWAYS XXIII. IN A SILVER BOAT XXIV. "HOME IS THE SAILOR FROM THE SEA" XXV. LAUNCELOT BUYS A COW XXVI. JUDY PLAYS LADY BOUNTIFUL XXVII. THE SUMMER ENDS
THE JUDGE AND JUDY
There was a plum-tree in the orchard, all snow and ebony against a sky of sapphire.
Becky Sharp, perched among the fragrant blossoms, crooned soft nothings to herself. Under the tree little Anne lay at full length on the tender green sod and dreamed daydreams.
"Belinda," she said to her great white cat, "Belinda, if we could fly like Becky Sharp, we would all go to Egypt and eat our lunch on the top of the pyramids."
Belinda, keeping a wary eye on a rusty red robin on a near-by stump, waved her tail conversationally.
"They used to worship cats in Egypt, Belinda," Anne went on, drowsily, "and when they died they preserved them in sweet spices and made mummies of them—"
But Belinda had lost interest. The rusty red robin was busy with a worm, and she saw her chance.
As she sneaked across the grass, Anne sat up, "I'm ashamed of you, Belinda," she said. "Becky, go bring her back!"
The tame crow fluttered from the tree with a squawk and straddled awkwardly to the stump, scaring the robin into flight, and beating an inky wing against Belinda's whiteness.
Belinda hit back viciously, but Becky flew over her head, and by several well-delivered nips sent the white cat mewing to the shelter of her mistress' arms.
"I suppose you can't help it, Belinda," said Anne, as she cuddled her, "but it's horrid of you to catch birds, horrid, Belinda."
Belinda curled down into Anne's blue gingham lap, and Becky Sharp climbed once more to the limb of the plum-tree, from which she presently sounded a discordant note.
Anne raised her head. "There is some one coming," she said, and rolled Belinda out of her lap and stood up. "Who is it, Becky?"
But Becky, having given the alarm, blinked solemnly down at her mistress, and said nothing.
"It's Judge Jameson's horse," Anne informed her pets, "and there's a girl with him, with a white hat on, and they'll stay to lunch, and there isn't a thing but bread and milk, and little grandmother is cleaning the attic."
She picked up her hat and flew through the orchard with Belinda a white streak behind her, and Becky Sharp in the rear, a pursuing black shadow.
"Little grandmother, little grandmother," called Anne, when she reached a small gray house at the edge of the orchard.
At a tiny window set in the angle of the slanting roof, a head appeared—a head tied up just now in a clean white cloth, which framed a rosy, wrinkled face.
"Little grandmother," cried Anne, breathlessly, "Judge Jameson is coming, and there isn't anything for lunch."
"There's plenty of fresh bread and milk," said the little grandmother calmly.
"But we can't give the Judge just that," said Anne.
"It isn't what you give, it's the spirit you offer it in," said the little grandmother, reprovingly. "It won't be the first time that Judge Jameson has eaten bread and milk at my table, Anne, and it won't be the last," and with that the little grandmother untied the white cloth, displaying a double row of soft gray curls that made her look like a charming, if elderly, cherub.
"You go and meet him, Anne," she said "and I'll come right down."
So Anne and Belinda and Becky Sharp went down the path to meet the carriage.
On each side of the path the spring blossoms were coming up, tulips and crocuses and hyacinths. Against the background of the gray house, an almond bush flung its branches of pink and white, and the grass was violet-starred.
"Isn't that a picture, Judy," said the Judge to the girl beside him, as they drove up, "that little old house, with the flowers and Anne and her pets?"
But Judy was looking at Anne with an uplifting of her dark, straight eyebrows.
"She must be a queer girl," she said.
"This is my granddaughter, Judy Jameson," was the Judge's introduction, when he had shaken hands with Anne. "She is going to live with me now, and I want you two to be great friends."
To little country Anne, Judy seemed like a being from another world; she had never seen anything like the white hat with its wreath of violets, the straight white linen frock, the white cloth coat, and the low ribbon-tied shoes, and the unconscious air with which all these beautiful things were worn filled her with wonder. Why, a new ribbon on her own hat always set her happy heart a-flutter!
She gave Judy a shy welcome, and Judy responded with a self-possession that made Anne's head whirl.
"My dear Judge," said the little grandmother from the doorway, "I am glad you came. Come right in."
"You are like your grandmother, my dear," she told Judy, "she and I were girls together, you know."
Judy looked at the little, bent figure in the faded purple calico. "Oh, were you," she said, indifferently, "I didn't know that grandmother ever lived in the country before she was married."
"She didn't," explained the little grandmother, "but I lived in town, and we went to our first parties together, and became engaged at the same time, and we both of us married men from this county and came up here—"
"And lived happy ever after," finished the Judge, with a smile on his fine old face, "like the people in your fairy books, Judy."
"I don't read fairy books," said Judy, with a little curve of her upper lip.
"Oh," said Anne, "don't you, don't you ever read them, Judy?"
There was such wonder, almost horror, in her tone that Judy laughed. "Oh, I don't read much," she said. "There is so much else to do, and books are a bore."
Anne looked at her with a little puzzled stare. "Don't you like books—really?" she asked, incredulously.
"I hate them," said Judy calmly.
Before Anne could recover from the shock of such a statement, the Judge waved the young people away.
"Run along, run along," he ordered, "I want to talk to Mrs. Batcheller, you show Judy around a bit, Anne."
"Anne can set the table for lunch," said the little grandmother. "Of course you'll stay, you and Judy. Take Judy with you, Anne."
Belinda and Becky Sharp followed the two girls into the dining-room. Becky perched herself on the wide window-sill in the sunshine, and Belinda sat at Judy's feet and blinked up at her.
"Belinda is awfully spoiled," said Anne, to break the stiffness, as she spread the table with a thin old cloth, "but she is such a dear we can't help it."
Judy drew her skirts away from Belinda's patting paw. "I hate cats," she said, with decision.
Anne's lips set in a firm line, but she did not say anything. Presently, however, she looked down at Belinda, who rubbed against the table leg, and as she met the affectionate glance of the cat's green orbs, her own eyes said: "I am not going to like her, Belinda," and Belinda said, "Purr-up," in polite acquiescence.
Judy had taken off her hat and coat, and she sat a slender white figure in the old rocker. Around her eyes were dark shadows of weariness, and she was very pale.
"How good the air feels," she murmured, and laid her head back against the cushion with a sigh.
Anne's heart smote her. "Aren't you feeling well, Judy?" she asked, timidly.
"I'm never well," Judy said, slowly. "I'm tired, tired to death, Anne."
Anne set the little blue bowls at the places, softly. She had never felt tired in her life, nor sick. "Wouldn't you like a glass of milk?" she asked, "and not wait until lunch is ready? It might do you good."
"I hate milk," said Judy.
Anne sat down helplessly and looked at the weary figure opposite. "I am afraid you won't have much for lunch," she quavered, at last. "We haven't anything but bread and milk."
"I don't want any lunch," said Judy, listlessly. "Don't worry about me, Anne."
But Anne went to the cupboard and brought out a precious store of peach preserves, and dished them in the little glass saucers that had been among her grandmother's wedding things. Then she cut the bread in thin slices and brought in a pitcher of milk.
"Why don't you have some flowers on the table?" said Judy. "Flowers are better than food, any day—"
Like a flame the color went over Anne's fair face. "Oh, do you like flowers, Judy?" she said, joyously. "Do you, Judy?"
Judy nodded. "I love them," she said. "Give me that big blue bowl, Anne, and I'll get you some for the table."
"Wouldn't you like a vase, Judy?" asked Anne. "We have a nice red one in the parlor."
Judy drew her shoulders together in a little shiver of distaste. "Oh, no, no," she shuddered, "this bowl is such a beauty, Anne."
"But it is so old," said Anne, "it belonged to my great-grandmother."
"That is why it is so beautiful," said Judy, as she went out of the door into the garden.
When she came in she had filled the bowl with yellow tulips, which, set in the center of the table, seemed to radiate sunshine, and to glorify the plain little room. "I should never have thought of the tulips, Judy," exclaimed Anne, "but they look lovely."
There was such genuine admiration in the tender voice, that Judy looked at Anne for the first time with interest—at the plain, straight figure in the unfashionable blue gingham, at the freckled face, with its tip-tilted nose, and at the fair hair hanging in two neat braids far below the little girl's waist.
"Do you like to live here, Anne?" she asked, suddenly.
Anne, still bending over the tulips, lifted two surprised blue eyes.
"Of course," she said. "Of course I do, Judy."
"I hate it," said Judy. "I hate the country, Anne—"
And this time she did not express her dislike indifferently, but with a swift straightening of her slender young body, and a nervous clasping of her thin white fingers.
"I hate it," she said again.
Anne stood very still by the table. What could she say to this strange girl who hated so many things, and who was staring out of the window with drawn brows and compressed red lips?
"Perhaps I like it because it is my home," she said at last, gently.
Judy caught her breath quickly. "I am never going back to my home, Anne," she said.
"No—grandfather says that I am to stay here with him—" There was despair in the young voice.
Anne went over to the window. "Perhaps you will like it after awhile," she said, hopefully, "the Judge is such a dear."
"I know—" Judy's tone was stifled, "but he isn't—he isn't my mother—Anne—"
For a few minutes there was silence, then Judy went on:
"You see I nursed mother all through her last illness. I was with her every minute—and—and—I want her so—I want my mother—Anne—"
But so self-controlled was she, that though her voice broke and her lips trembled, her eyes were dry. Anne reached out a plump, timid hand, and laid it over the slender one on the window-sill.
"I haven't any mother either, Judy," she said, and Judy looked down at her with a strange softness in her dark eyes. Suddenly she bent her head in a swift kiss, then drew back and squared her shoulders.
"Don't let's talk about it," she said, sharply. "I can't stand it—I can't stand it—Anne—"
But in spite of the harshness of her tone, Anne knew that there was a bond between them, and that the bond had been sealed by Judy's kiss.
ANNE GOES TO TOWN
"Grandfather," said Judy, at the lunch-table, "I want to take Anne home with us."
A little shiver went up and down Anne's spine. She wasn't sure whether it would be pleasant to go with Judy or not. Judy was so different.
"I don't believe Anne could leave Becky and Belinda," laughed the Judge. "She would have to carry her family with her."
"Of course she can leave them," was Judy's calm assertion, "and I want her, grandfather."
She said it with the air of a young princess who is in the habit of having her wishes gratified. The Judge laughed again.
"How is it, Mrs. Batcheller?" he asked.
"May Anne go?"
The little grandmother shook her head.
"I don't often let her leave me," she said.
"But I want her," said Judy, sharply, and at her tone the little grandmother's back stiffened.
"Perhaps you do, my dear," was her quiet answer, "but your wants must wait upon my decision."
The mild blue eyes met the frowning dark ones steadily, and Judy gave in. Much as she hated to own it, there was something about this little lady in faded calico that forced respect.
"Oh," she said, and sat back in her chair, limply.
The Judge looked anxiously at her disappointed face.
"Judy is so lonely," he pleaded, and Mrs. Batcheller unbent.
"Anne has her lessons."
"But to-morrow is Saturday."
"Well—she may go this time. How long do you want her to stay?"
"Until Sunday night," said the Judge. "I will bring her back in time for school on Monday."
Anne went up-stairs in a flutter of excitement. Visits were rare treats in her uneventful life, and she had never stayed at Judge Jameson's overnight, although she had often been there to tea, and the great old house had seemed the palace beautiful of her dreams.
"She is so different from any girl I have ever met," she explained to the little grandmother, who had followed her to her room under the eaves, and was packing her bag for her.
"Well, she isn't like Nannie May or Amelia Morrison."
"I should hope not," said the little grandmother with severity. "Nan is a tomboy, and Amelia hasn't a bit of spirit—not a bit, Anne."
Anne changed the subject, skilfully. "Do you like Judy?" she questioned.
"She is very much spoiled," said the little grandmother, slowly, "a very spoiled child, indeed. Her mother began it, and the Judge will keep it up. But Judy is like her grandmother at the same age, Anne, and her grandmother turned out to be a charming woman—it's in the blood."
"She says she is going to live with the Judge." Anne was folding her best blue ribbons, with quite a grown-up air.
"Yes. I have never told you, Anne, but the Judge's son was in the navy, and four years ago he went for a cruise and never came back."
"Was he drowned?"
"He was washed overboard during a storm, and every one except Judy believes that he was drowned. Even Judy's mother believed it in time, but Judy won't. She thinks he will come back, and so she has lived on in her old home by the sea, with a cousin of her father's for a companion—always with the hope that he will come back. But the cousin was married in the winter, and so Judy is to live with the Judge. He has always wanted it that way—but Judy clung desperately to the life in the old house by the sea. The Judge will spoil her—he can't deny her anything."
"What pretty things she has," said Anne, looking down distastefully at the simple gown and neat but plain garments that the little grandmother was packing into a shiny black bag.
The little grandmother gave her a quick look. "Never mind, dearie," she said, "just remember that you are a gentlewoman by birth, and try to be sweet and loving, and don't worry about the clothes."
But as she tied the shabby old hat with its faded roses on the fair little head, her own old eyes were wistful. "I wish I could give you pretty things, my little Anne," she whispered.
Anne gave a remorseful cry. "I don't mind, little grandmother," she said, "I don't really," and for a moment her warm young cheek lay against the soft old one.
A tiny mirror opposite reflected the two faces. "How much we look alike," cried Anne, noticing it for the first time. Then she sighed. "But my hair doesn't curl like yours, little grandmother," and in that lament was voiced the greatest trial, that had, as yet, come to Anne.
"Neither does Judy's," said Mrs. Batcheller, and Anne brightened up, but when she went down-stairs and saw Judy's bronze locks giving out wonderful lights where they were looped up with a broad black ribbon she sighed again.
When the carriage drove around, Anne caught Belinda up in her arms.
"Good-bye, pussy cat, pussy cat," she cried, "take care of grandmother, and don't catch any birds."
Belinda crooned a loving song, and tucked her pretty head under her little mistress' chin.
"You're a dear, Belinda," said Anne, "and so is Becky," and at the sound of her name the tame crow flew to Anne's shoulder and gave her a pecking kiss.
"Oh, come on," said Judy, impatiently, and the Judge lifted the shiny bag and put it on the front seat; then they waved their hands to the little grandmother and were off.
It was five miles to town, but the ride did not seem long to Anne. She pointed out all the places of interest to Judy.
"That is where I go to school," she said, as they passed a low white building at the crossroads, and later when the setting sun shone red and gold on two low glass hothouses set in the corner of a scraggly lawn, she explained their use to Judy.
"That's where Launcelot Bart raises violets," she said.
"What a funny name!" was Judy's careless rejoinder.
"Launcelot is a funny boy," said Anne, "but I think you would like him, Judy."
"I hate boys," said Judy, and settled back in the corner of the carriage with a bored air.
But Anne was eager in the defence of her friend. "Launcelot isn't like most boys," she protested, "he is sixteen, and he lived abroad until his father lost all his money, and they had to come out here, and they were awfully poor until Launcelot began to raise violets, and now he is making lots of money."
"Well, I don't want to meet him," said Judy, indifferently, "he is sure to be in the way—all boys are in the way—"
Anne did not talk much after that; but when they reached the Judge's great red brick mansion, with the white pillars and with wistaria drooping in pale mauve clusters from the upper porch, she could not restrain her enthusiasm.
"What a lovely old place it is, Judy, what a lovely, lovely place."
But Judy's clenched fist beat against the cushions. "No, it isn't, it isn't," she declared in a tense tone, so low that the Judge could not hear, "it isn't lovely. It's too big and dark and lonely, Anne—and it isn't lovely at all."
As the Judge helped them out, there came over Anne suddenly a wave of homesickness. Judy was so hard to get along with, and the Judge was so stately, and after Judy's words, even the old mansion seemed to frown on her. Back there in the quiet fields was the little gray house, back there was peace and love and contentment, and with all her heart she wished that she might fly to the shelter of the little grandmother's welcoming arms.
Perhaps something of her feeling showed in her face, for as they went up-stairs, Judy said repentantly, "Don't mind me, Anne. I'm not a bit nice sometimes—but—but—I was born that way, I guess, and I can't help it."
Anne smiled faintly. She wondered what the little grandmother would have said to such a confession of weakness. "There isn't anything in this world that you can't help," the dear old lady would say, "and if you're born with a bad temper, why, that's all the more reason you should choose to live with a good one."
But Anne was not there to read moral lectures to her friend, and in fact as Judy opened the door of her room, the little country girl forgot everything but the scene before her.
"Oh, Judy, Judy," she cried, "how did you make it look like this? I have never seen anything like it. Never."
From where they stood they seemed to look out over the sea—a sea roughened by a fresh wind, so that tumbling whitecaps showed on the tops of the green waves. Not a ship was to be seen, not a gull swept across the hazy noon-time skies. Just water, water, everywhere, and a sense of immeasurable distance.
"It's a mirror," Judy explained, "and it reflects a picture on the other wall."
"It seems just as if I were looking out of a window," said Anne. "I have never seen the sea, Judy. Never."
"I love it," cried Judy, "there is nothing like it in the whole world—the smell of it, and the slap of the wind against your cheeks. Oh, Anne, Anne, if we were only out there in a boat with the wind whistling through the sails." Her face was all animation now, and there was a spot of brilliant color in each cheek.
"How beautiful she is," Anne thought to herself. "How very, very beautiful."
"You must have hated to leave it," she said, presently.
"I shall never get over it," said Judy with a certain fierceness. "I want to hear the 'boom—boom—boom' of the waves—it is so quiet here, so deadly, deadly quiet—"
"How sweet your room is," said tactful little Anne, to change the subject.
"Yes, I do like this room," admitted Judy reluctantly.
There were pictures everywhere—-here a dark little landscape, showing the heart of some old forest, there a flaming garden, all red and blue and purple in a glare of sunlight. In the alcove was an etching—the head of a dream-child, and a misty water-color hung over Judy's desk.
"I did that myself," she said, as Anne examined it.
"Oh, do you paint?"
"And play?" Anne's eyes were on the little piano in the alcove.
"Play now," pleaded Anne.
But Judy shook her head. "After dinner," she said. "The bell is ringing now."
Dinner at Judge Jameson's was a formal affair, commencing with soup and ending with coffee. It was served in the great dining-room where silver dishes and tankards twinkled on the sideboard, and where the light came in through stained-glass windows, so that Anne always had a feeling that she was in church.
The Judge sat at the head of the table, and his sister, Mrs. Patterson, at the foot. Judy was on one side and Anne on the other, and back of them, a silent, competent butler spirited away their plates, and substituted others with a sort of sleight-of-hand dexterity that almost took Anne's breath away.
Anne and the Judge chatted together happily throughout the meal. The Judge was very fond of the earnest maiden, whose grandmother had been the friend of his youth, and his eyes went often from her sunny face to that of the moody, silent Judy. "It will do Judy good to be with Anne," he thought. "I am going to have them together as much as possible."
"Why don't you get up a picnic to-morrow?" he suggested, as Perkins passed the fingerbowls—a rite which always tried Anne's timid, inexperienced soul, as did the mysteries of the half-dozen spoons and forks that had stretched out on each side of her plate at the beginning of the meal.
"You could get some of Anne's friends to join you," went on the Judge, "and I'll let you have the three-seated wagon and Perkins; and Mary can pack a lunch."
Judy raised two calm eyes from a scrutiny of the table-cloth.
"I hate picnics," she said.
Then as the Judge, with a disappointed look on his kind old face, pushed back his chair, Judy rose and trailed languidly through the dining-room and out into the hall.
Anne started to follow, but the hurt look on the Judge's face was too much for her tender heart, and as she reached the door she turned and came back.
"I think a picnic would be lovely," she said, a little surprised at her own interference in the matter, "and—and—let's plan it, anyhow, and Judy will have a good time when she gets there."
"Do you really think she will?" said the Judge, with the light coming into his eyes.
"Yes," said Anne, "she will, and you'd better ask Nannie May and Amelia Morrison."
"And Launcelot Bart?" asked the Judge. For a moment Anne hesitated, then she answered with a sort of gentle decision.
"We can't have the picnic without Launcelot. He knows the nicest places. You ask him, Judge, and—and—I'll tell Judy."
"We will have something different, too," planned the Judge. "I will send to the city for some things—bonbons and all that. Perkins will know what to order. I haven't done anything of this kind for so long that I don't know the proper thing—but Perkins will know—he always knows—"
"Anne, Anne," came Judy's voice from the top of the stairway.
Anne fluttered away, rewarded by the Judge's beaming face, but with fear tugging at her heart. What would Judy say? Judy who hated picnics and who hated boys?
"Don't you want to come down and take a walk?" she asked coaxingly, from the foot of the stairs. It would be easier to break the news to Judy out-of-doors, and then the Judge would be in the garden, a substantial ally.
"I hate walks," said Imperiousness from the upper hall.
"Oh," murmured Faintheart from the lower hall, and sat down on the bottom step.
"I won't tell her till we are ready for bed," was her sudden conclusion.
It was getting dark, but Judy hanging over the rail could just make out the huddled blue gingham bunch.
"Aren't you coming up?" she asked, ominously.
"Yes," and with her courage all gone, Anne rose and began the long climb up the stately stairway.
IN THE JUDGE'S GARDEN
The Judge's garden was not a place of flaming flower beds and smooth clipped lawns open to the gaze of every passer-by.
It was a quiet spot. A place where old-fashioned flowers bloomed modestly in retired corners, veiled from curious stares by a high hedge of aromatic box.
There was a fountain in the Judge's garden, half-hidden by an encircling border of gold and purple fleur-de-lis, where a marble cupid rode gaily on the back of a bronze dolphin, from whose mouth spouted a stream of limpid water.
There was, too, in summer, a tangled wilderness of roses—hundred-leaved ones, and little yellow ones, and crimson ones whose tall bushes topped the hedge, and great white ones that clung lovingly to the old stone wall that was the western barrier of the garden. And there was a bed of myrtle, and another one of verbenas, over which the butterflies hovered on hot summer days, and another of pansies, and along the wall great clumps of valley lilies. And at the end of the path was a lilac bush that the Judge's wife had planted in the first days of bridal happiness.
For years it had been a lonely garden, as lonely as the old Judge's heart—for fifteen years, ever since the death of his wife, and the departure of his only son to sail the seas, the darkened windows of the old house had cast a shadow on the garden, a shadow that had fallen upon the Judge as he had walked there night after night in solitude.
But this evening as he sat on the bench under the lilac bush, a broad bar of golden light shone down upon the gay cupid and the sleeping flowers, and from the open window came the lilt of girlish laughter and the rippling strain of the "Spring Song," as Judy's fingers touched the keys of the little piano lightly.
Presently the music changed to a wild dashing strain.
"It's a Spanish dance," Judy explained to Anne. She was swaying back and forth, keeping time with her body to the melodies that tinkled from her fingers.
"I can dance it, too," she added.
"Oh, do dance it, Judy—please," cried Anne. She was living in a sort of Arabian Nights' dream. Hitherto the girls that she had known had been demure and unaccomplished, so that Judy seemed a brilliant creature, fresh from fairyland.
With a crash the music stopped, as Judy jumped up from the bench, and went into the hall.
"Move the chairs back," she directed over her shoulder, and Anne bustled about, and cleared a space in the centre of the polished floor.
In the meantime Judy bent over a great trunk in the hall.
"Oh, dear," she cried, as she piled a bewildering array of things on the floor—bright hued gowns, picturesque hats, and a miscellaneous collection of fans and ribbons. "Oh, dear, of course they are at the very bottom."
"They" proved to be a scarlet silk shawl and a pair of high-heeled scarlet slippers. Judy wound the shawl about her in the Spanish manner, put on the high-heeled slippers, stuck an artificial red rose in her dark hair, and stepped forth as dashing a senorita as ever danced in old Seville.
"Oh, Judy," was all that Anne could say. She plumped herself down in a big chair, too happy for words, and waved to Judy to go on, while she held her breath lest she might wake from this marvelous enchantment.
Out in the garden, the Judge heard the click of castanets and the tap of the high heels.
"What is the child doing," he wondered.
As the dance proceeded, the sound of the castanets grew wilder and wilder, and the high heels beat double raps on the floor. Then, suddenly, with one sharp "click-ck" the dance ended, and there was silence.
Then Anne cried, "Do it again, do it again, Judy," and the Judge clapped his applause from the garden below.
At the sound the girls poked their heads out of the window.
"You ought to see her, Judge," Anne's tone was rapturous, "you just ought to see her."
"Shall I come down?" Judy asked. She was glowing, radiant.
"Yes, indeed. Come and dance on the path."
Five minutes later Judy was whirling, wraithlike in the white light of the moon, which turned her scarlet trappings to silver. Anne sat by the Judge and made admiring comments.
"Isn't it fine?" she asked.
The Judge nodded.
"I saw the Spanish girls do it when I was young," he said, beating time with his cane, "and Judy lived in Spain with her mother for a year, you'd think the child was born to it," and he chuckled with pride.
But when Judy came up after the last wild dash, he was more moderate in his praises. The Judge had been raised in the days when children heard often the rhyme, "Praise to the face, is open disgrace," and at times he reminded himself of the merits of such early discipline.
"I don't know what your grandmother would have thought of it, my dear," he said, with a doubtful shake of his head, "in her days, young ladies didn't do such things."
"Didn't grandmother dance?" asked Judy.
"Indeed she did," said the Judge with enthusiasm. "Why, Judy, there wasn't a couple that could beat your grandmother and me when we danced the Virginia reel."
Judy threw herself down on the bench beside him, and fanned herself with the end of her shawl.
"Can you dance," she asked, "can you really dance, grandfather? I'm so glad. Some day I shall give a party, and have all the people of the neighborhood, and we will end it with the reel. May I, grandfather?"
"You may do anything you wish," was the Judge's rash promise, and with a quick laugh, Judy saw her opportunity and took advantage of it.
"Then let's go down to the kitchen," she said, "and get something to eat now. I didn't eat much dinner, and I am starved. Aren't you, Anne?"
But Anne had been trained in the way she should go. "I—I haven't thought of being hungry," she hesitated. "I never eat before I go to bed."
"Oh, I do," said Judy, scornfully. "And dancing makes me ravenous."
"But Perkins has retired, and Mary, and everybody—" expostulated the Judge.
"Who cares for Perkins?" asked Judy with her nose in the air.
"Well," said the Judge, who was hopelessly the slave of his servants, "he might not like it—"
"Judge Jameson," said Judy, shaking a reproachful finger at him, "I believe you are afraid of your butler."
"Well, perhaps I am, my dear," said the Judge, weakly, "but Perkins is an individual of a great deal of firmness, and he carries the keys, and I don't believe you will find anything, anyhow. And if you eat up anything that he has ordered for breakfast, you will have an unpleasant time accounting for it in the morning. I know Perkins, my dear—and he is rather difficult—rather difficult. But he is a very fine servant," he amended hastily.
"You leave him to me in the morning," said Judy, "I'll make the peace, grandfather, and I simply can't be starved to-night."
"Perkins won't say a word to you," said Judy, "and if he does, you can say you were not in the kitchen, because you are to stay right here, and Anne and I will bring things up, and make you a receiver of stolen goods."
She was very charming in spite of her wilfulness, and when she ended her little speech, by tucking her hand through the Judge's arm, and looking up at him mischievously, the old gentleman gave in.
The two girls were gone for a long time, so long that the Judge nodded on his bench.
He was waked by a shriek that seemed to come from the depths of the earth.
"What—is the matter, what's the matter, my dear?" he cried, starting up.
There was another subdued shriek, then a hysterical giggle.
"Judy is shut up in the ice-box," announced Anne, hurrying up from the basement.
"Bless my soul," ejaculated the Judge.
"We hunted around and found the key," explained Anne, as the Judge stumped distractedly through the lower hall, "and Judy unlocked the door of the ice-box and got inside, and she still had the key in her hand, and I hit the door accidentally and it slammed on her, and it has a spring lock and we can't open it."
"Bless my soul," said the Judge again.
The ice-box was a massive affair, almost like a small room. It was in a remote corner of the lower hallway, and its walls were thick and impenetrable.
"Let me out, oh, let me out," came in muffled tones, as the Judge and Anne came up.
"My dear child, my dear child," said the Judge, "how could you do such a thing?"
"I shall freeze. I shall freeze," wailed Judy.
"Are you very cold, Judy?" shivered Anne, sympathetically.
"It's so dark—and damp. Let me out, let me out," and Judy's voice rose to a shriek.
"Now, my dear, be calm," advised the Judge, whose hands were shaking with nervousness, "I shall call Perkins—yes, I really think I shall have to call Perkins—" and he hurried through the hall to the speaking tubes.
"Is there anything to eat in there?" Anne asked through the keyhole.
"Lots of things," said Judy. "I lighted a match as I came in, and there are lots of things. But I don't want anything to eat—I want to get out—I want to get out."
"Don't cry, Judy," advised Anne soothingly, "the Judge has called Perkins and he is coming down now."
Perkins emerged into the light of the lower hallway in a state of informal attire and unsettled temper. His dignity was his stock in trade, and how could one be dignified in an old overcoat and bedroom slippers? But the Judge's summons had been peremptory and there had been no time for the niceties of toilet in which Perkins' orderly soul revelled.
"There ain't no other key," he said, severely. "I guess we will have to wait until mornin', sir."
"But we can't wait until morning," raged the Judge, "the young lady will freeze."
"Oh, no, sir," said Perkins, loftily, "oh, no, sir, she won't freeze. Nothing freezes in that there box, sir."
"Well, she will die of cold," said the Judge. "Don't be a blockhead, Perkins, we have got to get her out now—at once—Perkins."
"All right, sir," said Perkins, "then I'll have to go for a locksmith, sir—"
"Can't you take off the lock?" asked the Judge.
Perkins drew himself up. "That's not my work, sir," he said, stiffly, "no, sir, I can't take off no locks, sir," and so the Judge had to be content, while the independent Perkins hunted up a locksmith and brought him to the scene of disaster.
It was a white and somewhat cowed Judy that came out of the ice-box.
"Make her a cup of strong coffee, Perkins," commanded the Judge, as he received the woebegone heroine in his arms, "and take it up to her room, with something to eat with it."
"I don't want anything to eat," Judy declared. "There's everything to eat in that awful box—enough for an army—but I don't feel as if I could ever eat again," in a tone of martyr-like dolefulness.
"Them things in there is for the picnic, miss," said Perkins. "It's lucky you and Miss Anne didn't eat them," and he cast on the culprit a look of utter condemnation.
At the word "picnic," Anne's soul sank within her. She had forgotten all about the picnic in the excitement of the evening, all about Judy's anger and the confession she was to make of the plans for Saturday.
She and the Judge eyed each other guiltily, as Judy sank down on the bench and stared at Perkins.
"What picnic?" she demanded fiercely.
"The Judge said I was to get things ready, miss," said Perkins, dismally, and looked to his master for corroboration.
"Didn't you tell her, Anne?" asked the Judge, helplessly.
Anne felt as if she were alone in the world. Perkins and the Judge and Judy were all looking at her, and the truth had to come.
"We decided to have the picnic to-morrow, anyhow, Judy," she said. "We thought maybe you would like it after it was all planned."
Judy jumped up from the bench and began a rapid ascent of the stairway. Half-way up she turned and looked down at the three conspirators. "I sha'n't like it," she cried, shrilly, "and I sha'n't go."
"Judy!" remonstrated the Judge.
"Oh, Judy," cried poor little Anne.
But Perkins, who had lived with the Judge in the days of Judy's lady grandmother, turned his offended back on this self-willed and unworthy scion of a noble race, and marched into the kitchen to make the coffee.
"YOUR GRANDMOTHER, MY DEAR"
Judy had reached the door of her room when the Judge called her.
"Come down," he said, "I want to talk to you."
"I'm tired," said Judy, in a stifled voice, and Anne, who had followed her, saw that she was crying.
"I know," the Judge's voice was gentle, "I know, but I won't keep you long. Come."
Judy went reluctantly, and he led the way to the garden bench.
It was very still out there in the garden—just the splash of the little fountain, and the drone of lazy insects. The moon hung low, a golden disk above the distant line of dark hills.
"Judy," began the Judge, "do you know, my dear, that you are very like your grandmother?"
Judy looked at him, surprised at the turn the conversation was taking. "Am I?" she asked.
"Yes," continued the Judge, "and especially in two things." His eyes were fixed dreamily on a bed of tall lilies that shone pale in the half light.
"What things?" Judy was interested. She had expected a lecture, but this did not sound like one.
"In your love of flowers—and in your temper—my dear."
Judy's head went up haughtily. "Grandfather!"
"You don't probably call it temper. But your grandmother did, and she conquered hers—and I am going to tell you how she did it, because I know she would want me to tell you, Judy."
Judy sat sulkily as far from her grandfather as she could get. Her hands were clasped around her knees and she stared out over the dusky garden, wide-eyed, and it must be confessed a little obstinate. Judy knew she had faults, but if the truth must be told, she was a little proud of her temper—"I have an awful temper," she had confessed on several occasions, and when meek admirers had murmured, "How dreadful," she had tossed her head and had said, "But I can't help it, you know, all of my family have had tempers," and as Judy's family was known to be aristocratic and exclusive, her more plebeian friends had envied and had tried to emulate her, generally with disastrous results.
She was not quite sure that she wanted to conquer it. It often gave her what she wanted, and that was something.
"The first time I had a taste of your grandmother's temper," the Judge related, "we had had an argument about a gown. We had been invited to a great dinner at the Governor's, and she had nothing to wear. She took me to the shop to see the stuff she wanted. It was heavy blue satin with pink roses all over it, and there was real lace to trim it with. It was beautiful and I wanted her to have it, but when they named the price it was more than I could pay—I was a poor lawyer in those days, Judy—so I said we would think it over, and we went home. All the way there your grandmother was very quiet and very white, but when we reached home and I tried to explain, she simply would not listen. She would not go to the Governor's, she said, unless she could have that gown. You can imagine the embarrassment it caused me—it was as much as my career was worth to stay away from that dinner, and I couldn't go without her.
"'I won't go. I won't go,' she said over and over again, and when I had coaxed and coaxed to no effect, I sat down and looked at her helplessly, and troubled as I was, I could not help thinking that she was the loveliest creature in the world—with her rose red cheeks and her flashing eyes.
"She said many cutting things to me, but suddenly she stopped and ran out of the room, and presently I saw her in the garden, this garden, my dear, and she was flying around the oval path, as if she were walking for a wager, her thin ruffles swirling around her, and the strings of her bonnet fluttering in the wind.
"Around and around she went, and I just sat there and stared. When she started in there was a deep frown on her forehead, but as she walked I saw her face clear, and when she had completed the round a dozen times or more, I saw her throw back her head in a light-hearted way, and then she ran into the house.
"She came straight to me and threw her arms around my neck. 'John,' she said, 'John, dear,' and there was the tenderest tremble in her voice, 'John Jameson, I was a hateful thing.' I tried to stop her, but she insisted. 'Oh, yes, I was. And I don't want the dress, I will wear an old one—and I'll make you proud of me—'
"Then all at once she began to sob, and her head dropped on my shoulder. 'Oh,' she cried, 'how could I say such things to you—how could I—?'
"'What made you change, sweetheart?' I asked, and she whispered, 'Oh, your face and the trouble in it.'
"'I made up my mind that I wouldn't say another word until I could get control of my temper, and so I went into the garden and walked and walked, and do you know, John Jameson, that I walked around that oval sixteen times before I could give up that dress.'
"It wasn't the last time she walked around that oval, Judy," the Judge finished, with a reminiscent smile on his old face, "and so perfectly did she conquer herself, that when she left me, it was just an angel stepping from earth to the place where she belonged."
Judy had listened breathlessly. So vivid had been the description, that she had seemed to see on the garden walk, the slender, imperious figure, the intent girlish face, and out of her knowledge of her own nature, she had entered into the struggle that had taken place in her grandmother's heart, as she flew around the oval of the old garden.
"Oh, grandfather," she said, when the Judge's quavering voice dropped into silence, "how lovely she was—"
"She was, indeed, and I want you to be as strong."
Judy tucked her hand into his. "I'll try," she said, simply, "thank you for telling me, grandfather."
"I want you to be happy here, too," said the old man wistfully, and then as she did not answer, "do you think you can, Judy?"
Judy caught her breath quickly. With all her faults she was very honest.
She bent and kissed the Judge on his withered cheek. "You are so good to me," she said, evasively, and with another kiss, she ran up-stairs to Anne.
Anne was in bed and Judy thought she was asleep, but an hour later as she lay awake lonely and restless, with her eyes fixed longingly on the great picture of the sea, a soft seeking hand curled within her own, and Anne whispered, "I didn't mean to make you unhappy, Judy," and Judy, clear-eyed and repentant in the darkness of the night, murmured back, "I was hateful, Anne," and a half hour later, the moon, peeping in, saw the two serene, sleeping faces, cheek to cheek on the same pillow.
TOO MANY COOKS
In spite of herself Judy was having a good time.
"I know you will enjoy it," had been Anne's last drowsy remark, and Judy's final thought had been, "I'll go, but it will be horrid."
But it wasn't horrid.
There had been Anne's happiness in the first place. Judy had wondered at it until she found out that Anne's picnic experiences had been limited to little jaunts with the children of the neighborhood, and an occasional Sunday-school gathering. The Judge had lived his lonely life in his lonely house, and except when Anne and her little grandmother had been invited to formal meals, he had not interested himself in any festivities.
There had been the early start, the meeting of the queer boy at the crossroads—the boy with the lazy air and the alert eyes; the crowding of the big carriage with two rather dowdy little country girls, one of whom was, in Judy's opinion, exceedingly pert, and the other exasperatingly placid; the laughter and the light-heartedness, the beauty of the blossoming spring world, the restfulness of the dim forest aisles, the excitement of the arrival on the banks of the stream, and the arrangement of the camp for the day.
And now Judy, having declined more active occupation, was in a hammock, swung in a circle of pines. The softened sunlight shone gold on the dried needles under foot, and everywhere was the aromatic fragrance of the forest. Now and then there was a flutter of wings as a nesting bird swooped by with scarcely a note of song. A pair of redbirds came and went—flashes of scarlet against the whiteness of a blossoming dogwood-tree. Far away the squalling of a catbird mingled with the mellow cadences of the mountain stream.
There was the sound of laughter, too, and the chatter of gay voices in the distance, where the young people fished from the banks.
Judy could just see them through an opening in the pines. The three girls perched on the bent trunk of an old tree, which hung over the water, were dangling their lines and watching the corks that bobbed on the surface. The Judge, with a big hat pushed away from his warm, red face, held the can of bait and discoursed entertainingly on his past angling experiences.
Perkins in the foreground was opening the lunch-hampers, and just outside of Judy's circle of pines, a brisk little fire sent up its pungent smoke, and beside the fire, Launcelot Bart was cutting bacon.
Judy watched him with interest. He was tall and thin, but he carried himself with a lazy grace, and in spite of his old corduroy suit, there was about him a certain air of distinction.
He was whistling softly as he put the iron pan over the coals, and dropped into it a half-dozen slices of the bacon.
"Watch these, Perkins," he called, "I'll be back in a minute," and he started towards the hammock.
As he came up, Judy closed her eyes, with an air of indifference.
"Asleep?" asked Launcelot, a half-dozen steps from her.
Judy opened her eyes.
"Oh—is that you?" she asked.
"Yes. Don't you want to come and help me cook?" He was smiling down at her pleasantly.
"I hate cooking." Judy's voice was cold. She hoped he would go away.
Launcelot leaned against a tree to discuss the question.
"Oh," he said. "I don't hate it. It's rather a fine art, you know."
"Anybody can cook," murmured Judy with decision.
"H-m. Can you, little girl?"
Judy sat up at that. "I'm fourteen," she flashed.
Launcelot laughed, such a contagious laugh, that in spite of herself Judy felt the corners of her lips twitch.
"That waked you up," he said, "you didn't like to have me call you 'little girl.' Well, am I to say Miss Jameson or Judy?"
"Neither," she said at last.
"Then what—?" began Launcelot. "Oh, by Jove, the bacon's burning. I'll be back in a minute."
When he had taken the bacon out of the pan, and had laid the fish in a corn-mealed symmetrical row in the hot fat, he again turned the pan over to Perkins and came back to Judy.
"Well?" he asked, as he came up.
"Call me Judith," said the incensed young lady. "Judy is my pet name, and I keep it for—my friends."
Launcelot gave a long whistle.
"Say, do you talk like this to Anne?" he asked.
"In this—er—straight from the shoulder sort of fashion?"
"No. Anne is my friend."
Launcelot shook his head. "You can't have Anne for a friend unless you have me."
"She was my friend first."
"Oh, well," Judy shrugged her shoulders and shut her eyes again, "it is too hot to argue."
There was a long silence, and then Launcelot said: "Don't you want to fish?"
"I hate fishing."
"Or to pick wild flowers?"
"I hate—" Judy had started her usual ungracious formula, before she recognized its untruth. "Well, I don't want to pick them now," she amended, "I'd rather stay here."
"But you are not going to stay here."
"You are going to help me cook those fish."
"Oh, yes you will. Come on."
"Oh, well. If you won't let me alone."
She slipped out of the hammock and picked up her hat. There was a tired droop to her slender young figure. "No, I am not going to let you alone," said Launcelot quietly. "You poor little thing."
She looked at him, startled.
"Why?" she breathed.
"You are lonely. That's why. You've got to do something. You just think and think and think—and get miserable—I know—I've been there."
It came out haltingly, the boyish expression of sympathy and understanding. And the sympathy combined with a hitherto unmet masterfulness conquered Judy. For a moment she stood very still, then she turned to him an illumined face.
"You may call me—Judy," she said shyly, then slipped past him and ran to the fire.
When he reached her, she was bending over the pan.
"How nice they look," she said, as Launcelot turned the fish, and they lay all crisp and brown in an appetizing row.
"You shall do the next," said Launcelot, smiling a little as he glanced at her absorbed face.
So while he made the coffee, Judy fried more bacon, and they slipped six fish into the big pan.
"Mine don't seem to brown as yours did," she told him, anxiously.
"Perhaps the fat wasn't hot enough," was Launcelot's suggestion. "It has to be smoking."
"Oh, dear," sighed Judy, "mine are going to look light brown instead of lovely and golden like yours."
"Put on some more wood." Launcelot's tone was abstracted. He was measuring the coffee, and it took all of his attention.
Judy poked a stick into the centre of the fire. For a moment it seemed to die down, then suddenly the big black pan seemed held aloft by a solid cone of yellow flame.
The grease in the pan snapped, and little burnt bits of corn-meal flew in all directions.
"Now they are cooking all right," and Judy shielded her face with her hand, as she held the long handle and watched complacently.
Suddenly Launcelot dropped the coffee-pot.
"Take them off, take them off," he cried.
Judy, with her fork upraised, stared at him as if petrified.
"Why?" she stammered.
He snatched the pan from the fire.
"They're burning," he cried, and turned the fish up one by one.
They were as black as coals down to the very tips of their crisp little tails!
A RAIN AND A RUNAWAY
At her cry of dismay, Perkins strolled over to take a look.
"They're burnt, Miss," he announced, bending over the pan.
"Of course they are," snapped Judy, "any one could see that, Perkins."
Perkins looked over her head, loftily.
"Yes, Miss, of course," he said, "but it's mostly always that way when there are too many cooks. I'm afraid there won't be enough to go around, Miss."
"Are these all?" asked Judy, anxiously.
"Yes," said Launcelot, "I cooked four and you burned six, and there are the Judge and Anne and Nannie and Amelia and Perkins and you and I to be fed."
"You needn't count me, sir," said Perkins. "I never eats, sir."
With which astounding statement, he carried away the charred remains.
"Does he mean that he doesn't eat at all?" questioned Judy, staring after the stout figure of the retiring butler.
Launcelot laughed. "Oh, he eats enough," he said, "only he doesn't do it in public. He knows his place."
"I wish he did," said Judy, dubiously. "Oh, dear, what shall we do about the fish?"
"There will be one apiece for the others," said Launcelot. "I guess you and I will have to do without—Judy—"
He spoke her name with just the slightest hesitation, and his eyes laughed as they met hers.
"And I said any one could cook!" Judy's tone was very humble. "What a prig you must have thought me, Launcelot."
"Oh, go and get some flowers for the table and forget your troubles," was Launcelot's off-hand way of settling the question, and as Judy went off she decided that she should like him. He was different from other boys. He was a gentleman in spite of his shabby clothes, and his masterfulness rather pleased her—hitherto Judy had ruled every boy within her domain, and Launcelot was a new experience.
It was a hungry crowd that trooped to the great gray rock where the table was spread.
"How beautiful you have made it look, Judy," cried Anne, as she came up, blissfully unconscious of a half-dozen new freckles and a burned nose.
Nannie May sniffed. "Fish," she said, ecstatically, "our fish, oh, Amelia, don't things look good."
Amelia surveyed the table solemnly. She was a fat, rather dumpy girl of twelve. She was noted principally for two things, her indolence and her appetite, and it was in deference to the latter that she sighed rapturously as she surveyed the table. She had never seen anything just like it. The country picnics of the neighbors always showed an amazing array of cakes and pies and chicken, but these were here, and added to them were sandwiches of wonderful and attractive shapes, marvelous fruits, bonbons, and chocolates, and salads garnished with a skill known to none other in the village but the accomplished Perkins.
As her eyes swept over the table, they were arrested by the platter of fish. In spite of Perkins' overplentiful border of cress and sliced lemon—put on to hide deficiencies, the four fish looked pitifully inadequate.
"I caught four myself," said Amelia, heavily, pointing an accusing finger at the platter, "and Anne caught three and Nan three—there were ten."
Launcelot groaned. "I wish you weren't quite so good at arithmetic, Amelia," he said, "we shall have to confess—we burned the rest up—and please ma'am, we are awfully sorry."
They all laughed at the funny figure he made as he dropped on his knees before the stolid Amelia—but into Judy's cheeks crept a little flush—"I—" she began, with a tremble in her voice; but Launcelot interrupted; "we will never do it again," he promised, and then as they laughed again, he rose and stood at Judy's side.
"Don't you dare tell them that you did it," he whispered, and once more she felt the masterfulness of his tone. "I should have watched the fire—it was as much my fault as yours," and with that he picked up a pile of cushions, and went to arrange a place for her at the head of the table.
Amelia ate steadily through the menu. She was not overawed by Perkins, nor was her attention distracted by the laughter and fun of the others. It was not until the ice-cream was served—pink and luscious, with a wreath of rosy strawberries encircling each plate—that she spoke.
"Well," she said, "I don't know's I mind now about those fish being burned," with which oracular remark, she helped herself to two slices of cake, and ate up her ice in silence.
Nannie May was thirteen and looked about eleven. She was red-haired and fiery-tempered, and she loved Anne with all the strength of her loyal heart. As yet she did not like Judy. It was all very well to look like a princess, but that was no reason why one should be as stiff as a poker. She hoped Anne would not love Judy better than she did her, and she noted jealously the rapt attention with which Anne observed the newcomer and listened to all she said.
Judy was telling the episode of the ice-box. She told it well, and in spite of herself Nannie had to laugh.
"When I went in there were salads to right of me, cold tongue to the left of me, and roast chicken in front of me," said Judy, gesticulating dramatically, "and I was so hungry that it seemed too good to be true that Perkins should have provided all of those things. And just then the door slammed and my match went out—and there I was in the cold and the dark—and I just screamed for Anne."
"Why didn't you put the latch up when you went in?" asked Nannie, scornfully. "It seems to me 'most anybody would have thought of that."
Anne came eagerly to her friend's defence.
"Neither of us knew it was a spring latch," she said, "and I was as surprised as Judy was."
"Why didn't you eat up all the things?" asked Amelia, as she helped herself to another chocolate.
"I didn't have any light—" began Judy.
"Well, I should have eaten them up in the dark," mused Amelia, as Perkins passed her the salted almonds for the sixth time.
"It was a good thing I didn't," laughed Judy, "or you wouldn't have had anything to eat to-day. Would they, Perkins?"
For once in his life Perkins was in an affable mood. The lunch had gone off well, there had been no spiders in the cream or red ants in the cake. The coffee had been hot and the salads cold, and now that lunch was over he could pack the dishes away to be washed by the servants at home, and rest on his laurels.
"I should have found something, Miss," he said, cheerfully; then as a big drop splashed down on his bald head, he leaned over the Judge.
"I think it is going to rain, sir," he murmured, confidentially.
"By George," gasped the Judge, as a bright flash of light and a low rumble emphasized Perkins' words, "by George, I believe it is.
"Oh, oh, oh," screamed Amelia, and threw her arms frantically around Nannie.
"Don't be silly," said Nannie, and gave her a little shake.
"We shall have to run for it," said Launcelot, gathering up wraps and hats, as a sudden gust of wind picked up the ends of the tablecloth and sent the napkins fluttering across the ground like a flock of white geese.
"You'd better get the young ladies to the carriage, sir," said Perkins, packing things into hampers in a hurry.
"They will get wet. It's going to be a heavy wind storm," said the Judge with an anxious look at Judy.
"Let's run for the Cutter barn," cried Anne, with sudden inspiration.
"Good for you, Anne," said Launcelot, "that's the very thing."
"Where is the Cutter barn?" asked Judy.
"Across that stream and beyond the strip of woods. Over in the field."
"Come on, Anne, come on. Oh, isn't this glorious. I love the wind. I love it, I love it." Judy's cry became almost a chant as she led the way across the little bridge and through the fast-darkening bit of woodland. The wind fluttered her white garments around her, her long hair streamed out behind, and her flying feet seemed scarcely to touch the ground.
Behind her came Anne, less like a wood-nymph, perhaps, but fresh and fair, and not at all breathless, then Nannie, bareheaded and with her best hat wrapped carefully in her short skirts, then Amelia, plunging heavily.
Launcelot waited to help Perkins with the horses and hampers and then he followed the girls.
The rain came before he was half-way across the stream, and the world grew dark for a moment in the heavy downpour that drenched him. There was a blaze of blue-white light, and a crash that seemed to shake the universe.
"They will be scared half to death," was Launcelot's thought as he forged ahead.
Just at the edge of the woods he came upon Anne and Judy. Judy had dropped down in a white huddled bunch, and Anne was bending over her.
"She ran too fast," she explained, while the rain beat down on her fair little head, "and she can't get her breath. Nannie and Amelia got to the barn before the rain came, but I couldn't leave Judy."
"I'm all right," gasped Judy, "you run on, Anne. I'm all right."
"Yes, run on, Anne," commanded Launcelot. "I'll take care of Judy, and you must not get wet," and with a protest Anne disappeared behind the curtain of driving rain.
Judy staggered to her feet and attempted to walk two or three steps.
"Stop it," said Launcelot, firmly, "you must not."
"But I can't stay here," cried poor Judy, desperately.
Her lips were blue and her cheeks were white, so that Launcelot wavered no longer. Without any warning, he picked her up as if she had been a child, and ran with her across the field.
"Put me down, Launcelot. Put me down." Judy's tone was imperious.
But she had met her match. Launcelot plodded on doggedly.
"I shall never forgive you," she sobbed, as they reached the door of the Cutter barn.
"Yes, you will," said Launcelot, and his lips were set in a firm line. "I had to do it, Judy."
He laid her on a pile of hay in the corner.
Her eyes were closed, and her dark lashes swept across her pallid cheeks.
"She isn't strong," whispered the worried Anne, her tender fingers pushing back Judy's wet hair.
"No," said Launcelot, his deep young voice softening to a gentler key as he looked down at her, "she isn't. Poor little thing!"
Judy heard, and her lashes fluttered. "How good they are," she thought, remorsefully, and then she seemed to float away from realities.
When she came to herself, Launcelot had gone, and the three little girls were rubbing her hands and trying to get her to drink some water.
"Oh, Judy, do you feel better?" Anne whispered; "we were so frightened."
"Yes," murmured Judy, and the color began to come into her face.
"Launcelot went to see if he could get something from Perkins for you to take," said Anne; "he told us to build a fire in the old stove, but we have been so worried about you that we haven't done anything."
"Is there a stove?" asked Judy, listlessly.
"Yes. Mr. Cutter put it in here to heat milk for the lambs, and once when we had a picnic we made our coffee here."
"There isn't any wood," said Amelia, hopelessly.
"There is some up in the loft," said Nannie, "Don't you remember the boys put it there, so that no one but ourselves could find it?"
She went swiftly up the narrow steps, but came flying back in a panic.
"There's some one up there," she whispered, all the color gone from her face.
"Hush," said Anne, with her eyes on Judy.
Judy was not afraid. She was still weak and wan, but she was braver than the little country girls, and not easily frightened.
"It is probably a pussy cat," she scoffed.
"Or a hen," giggled Amelia.
Anne said nothing. The darkness, the crashing storm outside, and Judy's illness had upset her, and she shivered with apprehension.
"No," Nannie flared, with a scornful look at Amelia and Judy, "it isn't a cat and it isn't a hen. IT sneezed!"
"Ask who's there," advised Judy from her couch.
"I don't dare," said Nannie.
"I don't dare," said Amelia.
So that it was little timid Anne, after all, who gathered up her courage and went to the foot of the stairs and said in a trembling voice:
"Please, who is up there?"
For a moment there was silence, and then some one said in sepulchral tones:
"You won't ever tell?"
The girls stared at each other.
"What shall we say?" whispered Anne.
"Say 'never,'" suggested Judy, wishing she were well enough to manage this exciting episode.
"NEVER," said the little girls all together.
There was a rustling in the hay in the loft, then cautious steps, and a figure appeared at the top of the stairs.
At sight of it, Amelia shrieked and Nannie giggled, but Anne ran forward with both hands out, and with her fair little face alight with welcome.
"Why, Tommy Tolliver, Tommy Tolliver," she said, "is it really you, is it really, really you?"
TOMMY TOLLIVER: SEAMAN
Tommy shook hands with Anne, then sat down disconsolately on the bottom step.
"Yes," he said, "it's me."
After a moment's uncomfortable silence, Anne asked, "Didn't you like it, Tommy?"
Tommy looked gloomy.
"Aw," he burst out, "they thought I was too young—"
"Did you go as far as China?" questioned Amelia, eagerly.
"Of course he didn't, Amelia," said Nannie with a superior air; "he has only been away three weeks."
"Then you didn't get me any preserved ginger," pouted Amelia.
"How could I?" But Tommy looked sheepish, as the memory of certain boastful promises came to him.
"Anyhow," he announced suddenly, "I'm not going to give up. I am going to be a sailor some day—if I have to run away again."
At that Judy sat up and fixed him with burning eyes.
"Did you go to sea?" she asked, intensely.
"I tried to."
"How far did you get?"
"And they wouldn't have you?"
"No. And I had used up all my money, so I had to come back."
"Have you ever been on the ocean?"
"No. Have you?"
"Yes. My father was in the navy."
"Gee—" Tommy drew near to this fascinating stranger.
"The next time you want to run away, you tell me," said Judy, and sank back on the hay, "and I'll help you."
"But, Judy," said horrified little Anne, "he isn't going to run away any more—he is going to stay here, and please his father and go to school—aren't you, Tommy?"
Tommy looked from the fair little girl to the dark thin one. Hitherto Anne had been his ideal of gentle girlhood, but in Judy he now found a kindred spirit, a girl with a daring that more than matched his own—a girl who loved the sea—who knew about the sea—who could tell him things.
"Aw—I don't know," he said, uncertainly. "I guess I can run away if I want to, Anne."
"No, you can't," cried Anne. "You ought not to encourage him, Judy."
"I'm not encouraging him," said Judy, but there was a wicked sparkle in her eyes.
Tommy saw it and swaggered a little. He had returned home in the spirit of the prodigal son. He was ready to be forgiven. To eat of the fatted calf—if he should be so lucky. If not, to eat humble pie. The sight of the familiar fields and roads had even brought tears to his eyes. But now—!
"A fellow can't be tied to a little old place like this all his life," he said, toploftically, "you can't expect it, Anne."
"I don't expect it," said little Anne, quietly, "but if you had seen your mother after you ran away, Tommy—"
At that Tommy lowered his head.
"I know—" he stammered, huskily, "poor little mother."
"Tell me about her," he said. And now he turned his back on the dark young lady on the hay.
But Launcelot's voice broke in on Anne's story. He came in all wet and dripping.
"How's Judy?" he began, then stopped and whistled.
"Hello," he exclaimed, "hello, Bobby Shafto."
"Oh, I say," said Tommy, very red.
"I thought you were on the high seas by now," said Launcelot.
"Well, I wanted to be," said Tommy, resentfully.
"I am glad you're back. We have missed you awfully, old chap," and Launcelot slapped him on the shoulder in hearty greeting.
"How is Judy?" he asked.
"Better, thank you," said the young lady in the corner. "Tommy was a tonic and came just in time."
"Well, I am glad you found some kind of tonic. Perkins didn't have a thing but some mustard and red pepper, and I was feeling for you if we had to dose you with either of those."
Judy started to laugh, but stopped suddenly.
"I forgot," she said, "I am mad at you—"
"Oh, no, you're not."
"But I am—"
"Because I carried you across the field when you didn't want me to?"
"My child," advised Launcelot, "don't be silly."
"Oh," raged Judy, and turned her back to him.
Launcelot looked down at her for a moment.
"You know that tree where you fainted?" he asked.
A little shrug of Judy's shoulder was the only answer.
"Well, it was struck by lightning before I got back—"
"Really—?" Judy was facing him now, breathless with interest.
"Really, Judy." His face was very grave.
"Oh, oh," she wailed, softly, "oh, and I might have been there—"
She shivered and sat up. Her wet hair, half braided, trailed its dark length over her shoulder. Her eyes were big, and her face was white.
"What a baby I was," she said, nervously, "what a baby, Launcelot—not to see the danger—"
"You trust to your Uncle Launcelot, next time, little girl, and don't get fussy," was the big boy's way of stopping her thanks.
"I will," she promised, and the smile she gave him meant more than the words.
"It has stopped raining," said Anne from the door.
The cool spring air blew across the fields softly, bringing with it the fresh smell of the sodden earth and the scent of the wet pines.
"The Judge will be here in a minute," said Launcelot; "he stayed in the carriage, and Perkins put up the curtains, so that they managed to keep pretty dry.
"I wonder if there will be room for me to ride home?" Tommy asked. "I am dead tired."
"I guess so. The Judge has the big wagon with the three seats. Pretty long tramp you had, didn't you?" and Launcelot looked at the boy's dusty shoes.
"Awful," said Tommy, with a quiver in his voice at the remembrance.
"Hungry?" questioned Launcelot, briefly.
"Awful," said Tommy again. "I haven't had a square meal for a week," and now the quiver was intensified.
Amelia clasped her hands tragically. "Oh, Tommy," she asked in a stricken tone, "didn't you almost die?"
But just then Tommy caught Judy's eye on him, and was forced to continue his character of bold adventurer.
"Oh, a man must expect things like that," he asserted. "Suppose it had been a desert island—"
"Or a shipwreck," said Amelia, "with bread and water for a week."
"Or pirates," ventured Nannie.
"Oh, pirates," sniffed the dark young lady on the hay; "there aren't any pirates now."
"Well, there are shipwrecks," defended Tommy.
"Yes, but they are not half as interesting as they used to be."
"And desert islands."
"A few maybe. But it is such an old story to hear about Robinson Crusoes."
Tommy looked blank. He had always implicitly believed the marvelous tales of yarn spinners, and his soul had been fired by the thought of a life of adventure on the deep. He had talked to the little girls until they had accounted him somewhat of a hero and looked to him to perform great feats of bravery.
"I don't see any fun in going to sea, then," he said, dolefully, "if there ain't any pirates and shipwrecks and things like that—"
"It isn't those things that make you love the sea, Tommy," cried Judy. "It is the smell of it, and the wind, and the wide blue water and the wide blue sky. It is something in your blood. I don't believe you really love it at all, Tommy Tolliver."
She got up from the couch and began to gather up her wet hair, and only Launcelot saw that she did it to hide her tears.
But Tommy was blind to her emotion. "Yes, I do," he asserted, stoutly. "I do love it, and I bet I could find a treasure island if I tried."
Judy stamped her foot impatiently. "Oh, you couldn't," she blazed, "you couldn't, Tommy Tolliver; you could just go to work like a common seaman and get your tobacco and your grog, and be frozen and stiff in the winter storms and hot and weary in the summer ones. But if you really loved the sea you wouldn't care—you wouldn't care, just so you could be rocked to sleep by it at night, and wake to hear it ripple against the sides of the boat—"
"Gee—" said Tommy, open-mouthed at this outburst.
"Tommy," said Launcelot, with a glance at Judy's excited face and at the trembling hands that could scarcely fasten her hair, "you don't know a sailboat from a scow."
"I do," cried the indignant Tommy, switching his attention from Judy to Launcelot, with whom he was deep in the argument when the carriage came.
The Judge read Tommy a little lecture as he welcomed him back, and then he ordered Perkins to give the runaway something to eat, and thereby tempered justice with mercy. And as Tommy had expected the scolding and had not expected the good things, it is to be feared that the latter made the greater impression.
"And how is my girl?" asked the Judge, beaming on Judy.
"All right," said Judy, and tucked her hand into his, "only I am a little tired, grandfather."
"Of course you are. Of course you are," said the Judge. "We must go right home. Perkins and I will sit on the front seat, and you can all crowd in behind—I guess there will be room enough."
"Oh, I say," said Launcelot, as Tommy and Anne sat down on the floor at the back, with their feet on the step, "that won't do. You sit with Judy, Anne."
But Anne shook her head.
"Tommy and I are going to sit here," she said. "He wants me to tell him all the news."
But that was not all that Tommy wanted, for when they were alone and unseen by those in the front of the wagon, he opened a handkerchief which he had carried knotted into a bundle.
"I brought you some things. They ain't much, but I thought you would like to have them."
There were a half-dozen pink and white shells, a starfish, and a few pretty pebbles.
"I picked them up on the beach," said Tommy, "and I thought you might like them."
"It was awfully good of you to think of me," said little Anne, gratefully.
"I wanted to buy you something," apologized Tommy. "There was some lovely jewelry made out of fish-scales, but I didn't have a cent to spare."
"I would rather have these, really, Tommy," said Anne, with appreciation, "because you found them yourself."
She tied them up carefully in her little clean white handkerchief, and then she folded her hands in her lap and told Tommy everything that had happened since he left home.
The sky was red with the blaze of the setting sun when the carriage started. Overhead the crows were flying in a straight black line to the woods to roost. As Anne talked on, the fireflies began to shine against the blue-gray of the twilight; then came darkness and the stars.
"It seems awfully good to be at home," confessed Tommy, as the lights began to twinkle in the nearest farmhouse, "if only father won't scold."
"I think he will scold, Tommy—he was awfully angry—but your mother will be so pleased."
"It was horrid sleeping out at night and tramping days." Tommy was unburdening his soul. It was so easy to tell things to gentle, sympathetic Anne. "And the men around the wharf were so rough—"
"I am sure you won't want to go again," said little Anne, "not for a long time, Tommy."
Tommy looked around cautiously. He didn't want Judy to hear, somehow. He was afraid of her teasing laugh. Then he leaned down close to Anne's ear:
"I'll stay here for awhile, Anne."
"I'm so glad, Tommy," said Anne, with a sigh of relief.
But as they drove into the great gateway, and the lights from the big house shone out in welcome, Tommy sighed:
"But I would like to find a treasure island, Anne," he said.
A WHITE SUNDAY
Anne was feeling very important. She was wrapped in a pale blue kimona of Judy's, and she had had her breakfast in bed!
Piled up ten deep at her side were books—a choice collection from the Judge's bookcases, into which she dipped here and there with sighs of deep content and anticipation.
At the end of the room was a mirror, and Anne could just see herself in it. It was a distracting vision, for Judy had done Anne's hair up that morning, and had puffed it out over her ears and had tied it with broad black ribbon, and this effect, in combination with the sweeping blue robe, made Anne feel as interesting as the heroine of a book—and she had never expected that!
Judy in a rose-pink kimona lay on the couch, looking out of the window. The peace of the Sabbath was upon the world; and the house was very still.
Suddenly with a "click" and a "whirr-rr," the doors of the little carved clock on the wall new open and a cuckoo came out and piped ten warning notes.
"Goodness," cried Anne, and shut her book with a bang, "it is almost church time, and we aren't dressed."
But Judy did not move. "We are not going to church," she said, lazily.
Not going to church! Anne faced Judy in amazement. Never since she could remember had she stayed away from church—except when she had had the measles and the mumps!
"I told grandfather last night that we should be too tired," explained Judy, "and he won't expect us to go."
"Oh," said Anne, and picked up her book, luxuriating in the prospect of a whole morning in which to read.
She wasn't quite comfortable, however. She was not a bit tired, and she had never felt better in her life—and yet she was staying away from church.
But the book she had opened was a volume of Dickens' Christmas stories, and in three minutes she was carried away from the little town of Fairfax to the heart of old London, and from the warmth of spring to the bitterness of winter, as she listened with Toby Veck to the music of the chimes that rang from the belfry tower.
It seemed only a part of the tale, therefore, when the bell of Fairfax church pealed out the first warning of the Sunday service to all the countryside.
"Ding dong, din, all come in, all come in," the bell had said to Anne since childhood, and now it called her, until it silenced the crashing voices of the bells of old London, and she had to listen.
She laid down her book. "The church bell is ringing," she said to Judy.
"I hear it," said Judy, indifferently.
Anne stood up—with a sidelong glance at the enchanting vision in the mirror. "I think I ought to go," she hesitated.
Judy turned to look at her.
"Don't be so good, Anne," she said, with a teasing laugh; "be wicked like I am, just for one day—"
"You are not wicked."
"Well, I haven't a proper sense of duty."
"You have too. You just like to say such things, Judy, just to shock people."
Which shows that in two days, wise little Anne had found Judy out!
"Well, I'm not going to church, anyhow," and Judy settled back and closed her eyes.
Anne's book was open at the fascinating place where Toby Veck eats his dinner on the church steps; the deep rose-cushioned chair opened its wide arms in comfortable invitation. It was the little girl's first taste of the temptation of ease,—and she yielded. But as she picked up her book again, she soothed her conscience with the righteous resolve—"I will go to service this afternoon."
As she settled back, the girl reflected in the mirror looked at her.
"Your hair looks beautiful," said the reflection.
Anne dropped her eyes to her book.
Presently she raised them.
"If only the people in church could see," said the charming reflection.
Anne imagined the sensation she would make as she walked up the aisle. None of the girls in Fairfax or the country around had ever worn their hair puffed over their ears or tied with broad black ribbon. There would be a little flutter, and during church time the girls would look at nothing else, and it would be delightful to feel that for once she, little plain Anne Batcheller, was the center of attraction.
She dropped her book. "I think I will go, after all," she said virtuously, and Judy, not knowing her motive, looked at her with envy.
"You are a good little thing, Anne," she said, and at the praise Anne's face flamed.
She dressed hurriedly, in her one white dress, with a sigh for the becomingness of the blue kimona. When she was ready to tie on her old hat, she went to the mirror.
"It is because your hair is so pretty that you are going to church," said the reflection, accusingly.
"It is because of my conscience," defended Anne, but she did not dare to meet the eyes in the mirror, and she turned away quickly.
"You look awfully nice," Judy assured her, as Anne said "Good-by." "Take my blue parasol. It is on the parlor sofa. Go and be good for both of us, Annekins."
Anne ran down-stairs to the great dim room. There were four mirrors in the parlor, and each mirror seemed to say to the little girl as she passed, "It is because of your hair," and when she had picked up the pretty parasol, the mirrors said again, as she passed them going back, "It is because of your hair, oh, Anne, it is because of your hair that you are going to church!"
The hands of the big clock in the hall were on eleven as Anne opened the front door—and as she stepped out into the glare of sunshine, the church bell rang for the last time.
Anne loved the sweet old bell. Even when she had been ill, she had been able to hear just the end of its distant peal—like the ringing of a fairy chime, and when she was very little, the time she had the mumps, she had thought of it as being up in the clouds, calling the angels to worship.
She listened to it for a moment, standing perfectly still on the path, then she went back into the house, and laid the parasol carefully on the sofa. After that she ran quickly upstairs, untying her hat-strings as she went.
"What in the world are you doing?" asked Judy in amazement, as Anne pulled out hairpins, and took the big black bow from her looped-up hair.
"I was thinking too much about it," said Anne, soberly. "I shouldn't have heard a word of the sermon if I had worn my hair that way," and she went on braiding it into its customary tight and unbecoming pigtails.
"Well, of all things," ejaculated Judy, gazing at her spellbound.
But when Anne had gone, Judy stood up and watched her from the window. "What a queer little thing she is," she murmured, as the bobbing figure went up and down the village path, "what a queer little thing she is."
But somehow the actions of the queer girl distracted her mind so that she could not go back to her attitude of lazy indifference. She had thought Anne a little commonplace until now; but it had not been a commonplace thing, that changing from prettiness to plainness. She even wondered if Anne had not done a finer act than she could have done herself.
"She is a queer little thing," she said again, thoughtfully, and after a long pause, "but she is good—"
She went to her wardrobe and took out a white dress. Then she got out her hat and gloves and laid them on the bed. And then she sat and looked at them, and then she began to dress.
And so it came about that Fairfax church had that morning two sensations. In the first place Anne Batcheller came in late for the only time in her life, and in the second place, when the service was half over, a slender, distinguished maiden in a violet-wreathed white hat, slipped along the aisle, flashing a glance at Anne as she passed, and smiling at the delighted Judge as she entered the pew.
She fixed her eyes on the minister—and straightway forgot Anne and the Judge and Fairfax, for the minister was reading the 107th Psalm, and the words that fell on Judy's ears were pregnant with meaning to this daughter of a sailor—"They that go down to the sea in ships—"
Dr. Grennell was a plain man, a man of rugged exterior—but he was a man of spiritual power—and he knew his subject. His father had been a sea-captain, and back of that were generations of Newfoundland fishermen—men who went out in the glory of the morning to be lost in the mists of the evening—men who worked while women wept—men to whom this Psalm had been the song of hope—women to whom it had been the song of comforting.
To Judy the sea meant her father. It had taken him away, it would bring him back some day, and was not this man saying it, as he ended his sermon, "He bringeth them into their desired haven—"?
Dr. Grennell had never seen Judy, but he knew the tragedy in the Judge's life, and as she listened to him, Judy's face told him who she was.
She went straight up to him after church.
"I am Judy Jameson," she said, "and I want to tell you how much I liked the sermon."
The doctor looked down into her moved young face. "I am the son of a sailor," he said, "and I love the sea—"
"I love it—" she said, with a catch of her breath, "and it is not cruel—is it?"
"No—" he began. But with a man of his fiber the truth must out; "not always," he amended, and took her hands in his, "not always—"
"And men do come back," she said, eagerly; "the one you told about in your sermon—"
He saw the hope he had raised. "Yes, men do come back—but not always, Judy."
Her lip quivered. "Let me believe it," she pleaded, and in that moment, Judy's face foreshadowed the earnestness of the woman she was to be. "Let me believe that my father will come some day—"
"Indeed, I will," said the doctor, and there was a mist in his eyes as he clasped her hand, "and you must let me be your friend, Judith, as I was your father's."
"I shall be glad—" she said, simply, and then and there began a friendship that some day was to bring to Judy her greatest happiness.
That afternoon the Judge and Judy drove Anne home.
"It seems just like a dream," said Anne, as they came in sight of the little gray house, with Belinda chasing butterflies through the clover, and Becky Sharp on the lookout in the plumtree. "It seems just like a dream—the good times and all, since Friday, Judy."
"A good dream or a bad dream, Annekins?" asked Judy.
"Oh, a good one, a lovely dream, and you are the Princess in it, Judy," said the adoring Anne.
"Well, you are the good little fairy godmother," said Judy. "Isn't she good, grandfather?"
"Oh, I am not," said Anne, greatly embarrassed at this overwhelming praise, "I am not—"
"I never could have changed my hair," affirmed Judy.
"What's that?" asked the Judge.
"Oh, a little secret," said Judy, smiling. "Shall I tell him, Anne?"
"No, indeed," Anne got very red, "no, indeed, Judy Jameson."
There was a little pause, and then the Judge said:
"I am sorry the picnic was such a failure."
"Oh, but it wasn't," cried Judy, "it wasn't a failure."
Anne and the Judge stared at her. "Did you enjoy it, Judy?" they asked in one breath.
"Of course I did," said the calm young lady.
"But the rain," said the Judge.
"That was exciting."
"And your fainting—" said Anne.
"Just an episode," said Judy, wafting it away with a flirt of her finger-tips.
"And Amelia, and Nannie, and Tommy, did you like them?" asked Anne.
"Oh, Amelia is funny, and Nannie is clever, and Tommy is a curiosity. Oh, yes, I liked them," summed up Judy.
Judy smiled an inscrutable smile, as she pulled her hat low over her sparkling eyes.
"He's bossy," she began, slowly, "and we are sure to quarrel if we see much of each other—but he is interesting—and I think I shall like him, Anne."
And then Belinda and Becky discovered them, and made for their beloved mistress, and conversation on the picnic or any other topic was at an end.
A BLUE MONDAY
There was a noisy scrambling in the vines outside of Anne's window early on Monday morning, and the little maid opened her eyes to see Belinda's white head peeping over the sill, and Belinda's white paws holding on like grim death to the ledge.
"You darling," cried Anne, sitting up, "come here," and Belinda with a plaintive mew made one last effort, pulled herself into the room, and flew to her mistress' arms.
"Where's Becky?" asked Anne, wondering why the tame crow did not follow, for in spite of their constant feuds, the two pets were inseparable.
Belinda blinked sagely, while from a shadowy corner of the room came a sepulchral croak.
"Are you there, Becky?" called Anne, peering into the darkness, and with a flap and a flutter, Becky swooped from the top of the bookcase, where she had been perched for a half-hour, waiting for Anne to wake.
Anne's bookcase was the one thing of value in the little house. It was of rich old mahogany, with diamond-shaped panes in its leaded doors, and behind the doors were books—not many of them, but very choice ones, culled from a fine library which had been sold when ruin came to Anne's grandfather and father one disastrous year.
It happened, therefore, that Anne had read much of poetry and history, and the lives of famous people, to say nothing of fairy-tales and legends, so that in the companionship of her books and pets, she had missed little in spite of her poverty and solitary life.
"How good it is to be at home," she said, as the sunlight, creeping around the room, shone on the green cover of a much-thumbed book of French fairy-tales, and then slanted off to touch the edge of a blue and gold Tennyson; "how good it is to be at home."
"How good it is to be at home," she said again, as followed by Belinda and Becky, she came, a half-hour later, into the sunlit kitchen, where the little grandmother, smiling and rosy, was pouring the steaming breakfast food into a blue bowl.
"I was afraid you might find it dull," said the little grandmother, as she kissed her, "after the good times at the Judge's."
"Oh, I did have such lovely times," sighed Anne, blissfully. She had sat up late in the moonlight the night before, telling her grandmother of them. "But they didn't make up for you and Becky and Belinda and the little gray house," and she hugged the little grandmother tightly while Belinda and Becky circled around them in great excitement, mingled with certain apprehensions for the waiting breakfast.
"But I do hate to start to school again," said Anne, when she finished breakfast, and had given Belinda a saucer of milk and Becky a generous piece of corn bread.
"Are the children going to speak their pieces this week?" asked Mrs. Batcheller, as Anne tied on her hat and went out into the garden to gather some roses for the teacher.
"Yes, on Saturday," said Anne; "it's going to be awfully nice. I have asked Launcelot and Judy to come to the entertainment, and they have promised to."
"I am going to be 'Cinderella' in the tableaux," she went on, as her grandmother brought out the tiny lunch-basket and handed it to her, "and Nannie and Amelia are to be the haughty sisters. We haven't found any boy yet for the prince. I wish Launcelot went to school."
"He knows all that Miss Mary could teach him now," said the little grandmother; "his father is preparing him for college, if they ever get money enough to send him there."
"Well, if Launcelot's violets sell as well next winter as they did this, he can go, 'specially if his mother keeps her boarders all summer. He told me so the other day, grandmother."
"But he would make a lovely prince," she sighed. "Judy is going to lend me a dress. She has a trunk full of fancy costumes."
"I hope you know your lessons," said the old lady, as Anne, escorted by her faithful pets, started off.
"Oh, I studied them on Friday, before Judy came—how long ago that seems—" and with a rapturous sigh in memory of her three happy days, and with a wave of her hand to the little grandmother, Anne went on her way.
Tommy Tolliver came to school that morning in a chastened spirit. He had been lectured by his father, and cried over by his mother, and in the darkness of the night he had resolved many things.
But it is not easy to preserve an attitude of humility when one becomes suddenly the center of adoring interest to twenty-five children in a district school. From the babies of the A, B, C, class to the big boys in algebra, Tommy's return was an exciting event, and he was received with acclaim.
Hence he boasted and swaggered for them as on Saturday he had boasted and swaggered for Judy's admiration.
"You ought to go," he was saying to a small boy, as Anne came up, but when he caught her reproachful eye on him, he backed down, "but not until you are a man, Jimmie," he temporized.
During the morning session he was a worry and an aggravation to Miss Mary. The little girls could look at nothing else, for had not Tommy been a sailor, and had he not had experiences which would set him apart from the commonplace boys of Fairfax? And the boys, a little jealous, perhaps, were yet burning with a desire to be the bosom friend of this bold, bad boy, while the luster of his daring lasted.
And so they were all restless and inattentive, until finally Miss Mary, who had a headache, lost patience.
"You are very noisy," she said, "and I am ashamed of you. I am going to put a list of words on the board, and I want you to copy them five times, while I take the little folks out into the yard for their recess. The rest of you don't deserve any, and will have to wait until noon."
That was the first piece of injustice to Anne. She had been as quiet as a mouse all the morning, and Miss Mary should have seen it and not have punished the innocent with the guilty. But Anne was a cheery little soul and never thought of questioning Miss Mary's mandates, and so she went on patiently writing with the rest.
Miss Mary stopped in the door long enough to issue an ultimatum.
"I shall put you on your honor," she said, "not to talk. And any one who disobeys will be punished."
And she went out.
For a little while there was perfect decorum. Then Tommy grew restless. Six weeks out of school had made sitting still almost impossible. He wiggled around in his seat, and began to whistle, "A Life on an Ocean Wave."
That was a signal for general disorder among the boys. Without speaking a word, and so preserving the letter of the rule, if not the spirit, they, with Tommy as leader, went through various pantomimic performances. They hitched up their trousers in seamanlike fashion, they pretended to row boats, they spit on their hands and hauled in imaginary ropes, and as a climax, Tommy danced a hornpipe on his toes.
And then Anne spoke right out—"Oh, Tommy, don't," she said, in an agony of fear lest Miss Mary should come in and catch him at it.
But Miss Mary did not come, and the little girls giggled and the boys capered, and Anne in despair went on writing her words.
When Miss Mary came back finally, with the little people trooping in a rosy row behind her, twenty-five virtuous heads were bent over twenty-five papers.
"Did any one speak while I was out?" asked the teacher.
A wave of horror swept over Anne. She had not meant to do it, but she had spoken, and to try to explain would be to condemn Tommy and the rest of the school.
"Did any one speak?" asked Miss Mary again.
Anne stood up, her face flaming.
"I—I—did—" she faltered.
"Oh, Anne—" said Miss Mary, while the girls and boys dropped their eyes for very shame. "Oh, Anne, why did you do it—"
"I just did it—" stammered Anne, who would rather have died than have blamed Tommy, and Nannie, and Amelia, and the rest of her friends.
"Well, then," said Miss Mary, firmly, "I'm sorry, but you will have to sit on the platform the rest of the morning, and I can't let you take part in the Saturday's entertainment. I must have order and I will have it."
And that was Miss Mary's second piece of injustice. But then she had a headache, and children on Monday mornings are troublesome.
For one hour Anne sat with her head held high and her fair little face flushed and burning. But she did not cry. And Tommy, bowed to the ground by his sense of guilt in the matter, did not dare to look at the patient, suffering martyr.
It was thus that Launcelot Bart, coming in just before twelve o'clock to see Tommy, found her.
As soon as he got Tommy outside of the schoolroom he collared him.
"What's the matter with Anne?" he demanded.
"She talked in school," said Tommy, doggedly.
"I don't believe it."
"Well, she did, anyhow."
"Whose fault was it?"
"Hers, I suppose."
"You don't suppose anything of the kind. Anne Batcheller never broke a rule in her life willingly, and you know it, Tommy Tolliver."
The children were coming out of the schoolroom in little groups of twos and threes—the girls discussing Anne's martyrdom sympathetically, the boys with hangdog self-consciousness.
Inside the room, Anne, released from her ordeal, had gone to her desk and was sitting there with her head up. Her face was white now, the little lunch-basket was open before her, but the cookie and the apple were untouched.
Launcelot looked in through the window.
"Poor little soul," he murmured.
And then Tommy blubbered.
"It was really my fault, Launcelot," he confessed.
"And you let Anne bear it—you let Anne be punished—oh, you miserable—little—little—cur," said the indignant squire of dames, in a white heat.
"Aw, what could I do?" whimpered Tommy.
"Go in and tell Miss Mary," said Launcelot.
"Go in and tell Miss Mary!"
But Miss Mary did not wish to be bothered.
"I made a rule and Anne broke it," she said, when Tommy tried to straighten things out, "and that is all there is to it. Don't talk about it any more, Tommy," and she dismissed him peremptorily.
When Tommy told Launcelot the result of the interview, the big boy set his lips in a firm line, and started off down the dusty road.
He went straight to town and to Judy.
"Oh, oh," said Judy, when she had listened to his tale of woe, "what a mean old thing she is—I hate her—" and her dark eyes flashed.
"I don't think Miss Mary is mean," said Launcelot, "but the children are restless, and she isn't very strong, and when she feels badly she takes it out on the scholars."
"But to punish Anne," said Judy, and her voice trembled, "dear little Anne—"
"She might at least have listened to Tommy's explanation," said Launcelot.
After a pause he said: "I came to you because I thought you might go and see Anne after school. It would do her a lot of good. She will be all broken up."
"I will go to school and get her," cried Judy, eagerly. "Is it very far?"
"I am afraid you couldn't walk," said Launcelot, doubtfully.
"I'll drive over in the trap," said Judy. "Grandfather says I can use Vic whenever I want to."
"It was pretty mean of Miss Mary to pile it on, I must say," said Launcelot, as he rose to go. "She might have let Anne be in the entertainment."
"She isn't going to let Anne be in it."
"Not be 'Cinderella'?" Judy's tone was ominous.
"Oh, oh, oh." Judy's hands were clenched fiercely. "I'll get even with her, Launcelot. I'll get even with that teacher yet."